After nearly a year of investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice says it will not charge the two Baton Rouge police officers who fatally shot Alton Sterling in the early hours of July 5, 2016.
In a separate news conference at the same time, a lawyer for members of Sterling's family said USA officials had told them they agreed that the officers' actions were "outrageous" and "inappropriate" despite the determination not to prosecute.
The officers - Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II - were placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting.
The July 5 deadly police shooting of Sterling is now the focus of a state investigation, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced Wednesday. As the law requires, they considered the evidence from the officers' perspective. When officers approached Sterling in the parking lot of the convenience store, "an altercation between Sterling and officers ensued", said police.
Sterling, 37, was selling homemade CDs outside the Triple S Food Mart when police were called to the store to investigate a report of a man with a gun.More news: Student stabbed to death on campus of University of Texas at Austin
"It's not right. Lord have Mercy", Alton Sterling's aunt, Sandra Sterling, told CNN. Police said video showed that the vehicle Jordan was in was moving away from police, not going toward them in reverse, as the Balch Springs Police Department originally claimed.
Since the incident had come under the purview of the DOJ, there has not until now been an investigation into possible violations of Louisiana's criminal code, Landry said in a statement. Officer Salamoni then fired three shots into Sterling's chest. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry tweeted he will comment after the official Department of Justice announcement.
Two separate video clips of the event show Sterling throw his empty hands into the air just before a Taser pops and he is pinned to the ground by two police officers before being fatally shot.
At this time, and due to the nature of their investigation, my office has not been privy to any investigative materials created and collected by the USDOJ.
Fournette later said he knew he has a powerful voice as an athlete and wanted use it to advance a change in Baton Rouge and around the world.
Landry said he has asked the Justice Department to turn over its findings to the Louisiana State Police "in order to ensure this matter is investigated by the agency with the most expertise in officer-involved shootings".More news: Afghan Taliban Launches Spring Offensive Against US, Afghan Forces
The Justice Department said Lake subsequently found a.38 caliber revolver in Sterling's back pocket.
Landry said a state investigation into the actions of police officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake would begin now that the federal probe was complete, adding that US investigators would turn over their evidence to the Louisiana State Police. Salamoni has been a Baton Rouge police officer for four years; Lake had been on the force for three years.
"Less than one second later, during a point at which the location of Sterling's right hand was not visible to the cameras, Officer Salamoni again yelled that Sterling was 'going for the gun!' " the Justice Department said in a news release. "The evidence also can not establish that Sterling was not reaching for a gun when Officer Salamoni yelled that Sterling was doing so".
The governor's office said the decision will be announced officially on Wednesday, but did not know the exact time.
The officers involved told investigators that Sterling was attempting to pull a loaded gun out of his pocket at the time Salamoni opened fire. "With respect to the second series of shots, both experts emphasized that officers are trained to eliminate a threat, and that Sterling appeared to pose a threat because he was still moving and his right hand was not visible to Officer Salamoni". The mother of some of Sterling's children described him as "a man who simply tried to earn a living to take care of his children" and referred to the officers as "the individuals involved in his murder". The U.S. Justice Department has decided not to charge two.More news: Jets not exercising S Calvin Pryor's fifth-year option